Failing Silence and other stories

If you missed it Monday, I'm on partial vocal rest. And as it turns out, not talking is not easy. Everyone tells me I'm a quiet person, but even I like a good conversation with friends or family. Also, I tend to ramble when I get nervous or tired. Which is most of the time. Not talking to Lou feels like mourning, so I hardly hold back with him, and I'm also the sort of person who talks to herself. A lot. And to the cat, and the plants, and miscreant drivers, and inanimate objects, and anything else I can pretend has chosen to listen.

Incongruously, this week I talked myself hoarse discussing vocal problems with a friend who has also experienced them. I learned a lot from her, though.

* * *

All my basil and chive starts have died. This makes me terribly sad.

On the other hand, our back yard looks like this right now (click if you want the big version):

Blooming from left to right:
neighbors' pink cherry, our pie cherry, tulips, apple tree,
something yellow belonging to neighbors, dogwood tree
Also, my row of baby lettuce is just as a row of baby lettuce should be:

There are adorable little kale plants coming up behind,
but they're hard to see in the picture.
We'll say much less about the spinach, which has had a lousy germination rate. But the currants are all, like, "We loooooooooooove it here":

So are the dandelions, of course, but...
And the peonies and the bluebell hyacinth things and the old rose are equally thrilled:

Shot my shadow right into this one. Oops.
And making me very happy: The strawberries are finally blooming.

Shadowed this one, too. I suck at photography.
But I am determined to grow basil and chives, if I have to hang them from the ceiling near a south window in my house. I. Am. Determined.

* * *

Maia: "You're not sitting properly. Could you level out a bit?"

Me: "Maia, if you're going to be on my lap, you have to LIE DOWN. You're blocking the computer screen."

Maia: "I just don't see how I'm going to get comfortable."

Me: "Ow! We'll talk about comfortable when you're not standing on sensitive internal organs."


Me: "You sleep on the stereo with your head hanging off, and you're not happy with my lap?"

Maia, turning in circles: "If it were a sunny day, I'd go sleep on the stereo, but it's cold and you're warm. Move your elbow so I can curl up in it."

Me: "Dadgum it, cat, SIT DOWN NOW and stop messing with my arms. I'm trying to type."

Maia: "Ooh, I've got it. I'll sleep across both your arms. Cool beans. This is perfect."

Me, wondering whether a cat sleeping across both elbows will make me more likely to develop full-blown carpal tunnel syndrome: "I guess I can work with this..."

* * *

Writers' link of the week: Interesting post from Sarah LaPolla on the fact that writing what you know will be entirely uninteresting to most people unless you have a good storyline behind it.

* * *

Music of the week: In all the world of music, this is just about my favorite kind of voice to listen to.

* * *

Random amusement of the week: Places cats are apparently as comfortable sleeping as the average lap. And more, a few of which are repeats. And then, to put a little perspective on the cat-picture phenomenon, this. (H/T my father-in-law, who emailed me a bunch of these awhile back.)

* * *

The house is clean, the tomato plants are out in the semi-sunshine, a load of manure has been dug into the vegetable garden, and I've practiced the piano (albeit very badly.) And I have a blog post together. Somehow I've gotten all this done without yet having coffee.


I'm going to correct that little oversight right now. Happy weekend!


  1. What an absolutely lovely harp solo and song. Thanks, Jenna! My favorite female vocalists are more along the lines of Melissa Etheridge and Annie Lennox, but this was ethereal and spirit-lifting.

    And I nearly fell off my chair laughing about the dialogue with Maia (not, of course, about her nap-pose increasing the likelihood of carpal tunnel). I wrote my dissertation with my two cats, Duncan and Alasdair, upon me: one on my lap and the other draped over the back of my office chair/leaning on my neck and back. Talk about not being able to move! I suppose it did help me keep my nose to the grindstone; goodness knows it couldn't go anywhere else without the reprisal of eight paws of claws....

    1. Glad you liked the song! Etheridge and Lennox are both brilliant in their own right, of course, with a very different tone and timbre.

      Haha, I know exactly what you mean about all those claws. :D

  2. The something yellow in your neighbor's yard looks like a forsythia that is morphing from its yellow blooms into its green foliage, which it will have the rest of summer. I love forsythia, and hope to get a few next year for our yard.

    And the vocalist you posted is just *lovely*. Hers is the kind of voice I like to sing along to and imitate with my own--her technique is quite good :-)

  3. Also, I hope it's ok, but Jenna I pinned your first photo to my Gardens board on Pinterest. I credited you in the caption and linked back to this post (in addition to the image itself linking back). If you'd prefer I don't, just let me know and I'll pull it. (It's a lovely shot!)

    1. I don't mind you pinning my photos to Pinterest, Donna! I'm glad you liked it. Thanks for the link. Actually, I'd love to see your Gardens board if you're open to sharing it; you never know, I might find inspiration.

      And yeah, I shoot for a bit of that Celtic-style technique myself. My voice, when it's actually working, is a lot more suited for music that requires a soft, clear tone than opera or belty pop music. Would love to hear you sing sometime. :D

    2. Here is my Pinterest page: http://pinterest.com/donnarosemary/ Feel free to follow one or all of my boards! Though, all but two of them are a sandbox for me to mess around with my baby registry (which was actually the reason I joined Pinterest, to have a space to do that). But then I branched out and have two boards for purely inspiration--Gardens and Starry Night. If you come follow me I'll follow you back (assuming you, too, are on Pinterest). :)

      As for singing--I actually have a few videos (which is just audio really) from Pascha of this year, of my church choir singing some of the beautiful Pascha hymns (I sing soprano, and we're not a huge choir). I just haven't figured out how to get them off my phone yet :) If I do, I'll be sure to post one of them to my blog! (Something I hoped to do anyway--just hafta figure out the tech part--as a self-professed techie it's a little sad I don't know how to do this.)

    3. I just signed up for an invitation today, so when I get in, I'll try and follow. :) In the meantime, your garden and starry night images are awesome!

    4. Aw, thanks! And, how's this for acting as a motivator without even realizing it--this comment thread pushed me to finally figure out how to get that video I mentioned off my phone! It was too big of a file to email through my phone, but it turns out it uploaded to YouTube just fine. So, you'll find over at my blog a new post filled with both tulips and audio of my church choir singing :) Hope you enjoy them!

  4. Oh my goodness...are you kidding me! That is your backyard. It is seriously gorgeous!!! So green and pink and pretty and did I say green? I see some great outdoor reading/writing areas!

    Love you!

    1. Love you, too! And you know, you'll have to visit sometime. :D

  5. Love the yard, but am adoring the cat pix--the cat laying across the wire hangers is hilarious. Cats--go figure.



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